pat farenga

pat farenga 2 bw

Pat is a leading advocate of the moder homeschooling movement. via wikipedia

After Holt’s death in 1985, he took over as publisher of GWS and president of the parent company, Holt Associates.

Farenga is a prolific writer, and has authored or contributed to many of the other educational publications by Holt Associates. He has written articles for numerous publications including Mothering, Paths of Learning, Home Education, and The Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society. He contributed chapters to The Encyclopedia of School Administration (1988) and A Parent’s Guide To Homeschooling (2002). Among his works, Farenga is perhaps best known as the author of The Beginner’s Guide To Homeschooling (1998) and Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (2003)

His site:

pat farenga site

A fav – is his recent work to re-release

escape from childhood

by John Holt


John Holt GWS – growing without homeschooling site (Pat Farenga blog):

john holt site



Pat’s talk:

4:56 – we don’t have laws about compulsory school, we have laws about compulsory attendance

14 – like (davenport?) – homeschooling grew while in plain site

15:55 – believing that people prefer to tinker with schooling – Holt started working with Illich, he decided deschooling was a better than trying to reform schools

16 – Holt struggled with deschooling because couldn’t figure how to – how to practically implement them so schools couldn’t stop them politically 

until 1976 – his book – Instead of Education – underground railroad.. homeschooling parents told him, no need, just homeschool, so he started encouraging parents to do just that – right to direct ed of children

17:30 there has never been a law in the US that prevents parents from teaching kids at home.. ie: 1925 – enshrine rights of parents

18 – the state cannot impose on all parents any kind of ed monopolies of schools, methods, and so on

compulsory school attendance laws in the us have never specified that attendance can only mean physical presence in a school building, why city as school and outward bound are funded

since homeschoolers receive no funding from government, they enjoy even more distance, but are not immune from government, school-based ideas of how structured and measured

19 – burden of proof – falls upon the schools. parents are assumed competent to teach their children until proved otherwise – 1978 – 

19:45 holt noted – the courts have ruled that in order to prove parents inadequatae- state must show that its own requirements are educationally necessary and produce better results that parents get or likely to get..

take away – schooling is not the same as education.

we are very likely that we have this nuance in our laws.

encourages ed among general population without defining how and where

germany and sweden ban homeschooling – in recent years – sweden – every child deserves a professional ed, and that homeschooling is like – run a muck, all children must attend school to become true citizens of their country – otherwise.. parallel societies

assumption sweden/germany et al make – that learning is the result of teaching – that learning will occur in a predictable manageable pattern

23 – in the throws of evaluating teachers – to get the perfect teacher – again – assumes child needs teacher to teach them – but – learning is the result of the activity of the learner, not the teacher

25 – no govt funds available for homeschooling – wish you had access to funds you pay and others use

illich – 1971 – forces which are now expended toward schools, should be redirected toward education

28 – knowing you could leave school

1981 – 15,000-20,000

2007 – 1.5 mill

government stopped telling the number in 2007 

Pat’s guess – over 2 mill in 2013

#1 reason – concern about the environment of school – 2007

Holt – unschooling better described the concept – didn’t have to be at home, or school…

31 – the pain/shame of not knowing, being wrong

1964  – holt says – school is place where children learn to be stupid

Mitra – groups of children can learn anything they want if have resources

the essential insight – kids should be free to explore/play

36:45 – danger – we move from compulsory attendance to compulsory education

38:30 – this approach does in fact turn man into a thing

Joel Spring – once we accept ed as an inevitable part of lives, we tap into the system. ed did turn men into things that had to be trained and molded.  – ed and rise of the corporate state, 1972

Spring – by socialization – they mean – social adaptation. talk of changing socialization w/o realizing this is pointless. only possible solution – ending power of the school

Christensen – disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns… but – tech adapting to people, not people to tech

Stephens – hacking your ed, Anya Kamanetz

why must the only learning children do that counts – be taught, predicted, measured in schools

very few researchers studying homeschooling for the amazing things the have found on the edge

46 – 27% of americans have 4 yr college degrees

48 – youth aren’t worried

51 – portland – the villages, drop off centers where homeschoolers can play, Blake Boles

70% of parents hand pick curriculum for kids – homeschoolers

compelling belief by steven aarons – and gws site for lists of court cases and support


Find Peter‘s and Cevin‘s talks.
or find them compiled via Pat – with slidedecks et al:

comp ed conf bia pat


recent post on consumerism:

pat farenga post


when asked about unschooling, aero, 2010:


from Shilpa & Manish‘s activism book:

pat farenga in elephant book


The site below was announced on Monday, August 26, with the publication of Dr. Peter Gray‘s essay, “School is a prison—and Damaging Our Kids,” in the online magazine, Salon.

read more about it in this post by Pat, where he writes…

some of us have joined to create a new website to help promote alternatives to school, not alternative schools:

alternatives to school from pat



Al Jazeera Homeschooling Sept 26 2013

interview with Heather and Pat Farenga

..  a nother way


Education Should be More Than Money and Good Grades for Some
Paul Goodman: ‘The better way is to expand social needs that are also opportunities for education appropriate to different dispositions’
Holt’s: No Schools At All. This is the title of a speech Dewey gave in 1933 at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, wherein he describes his educational Utopia.
We can’t get somewhere new unless we blaze a path there first.
imagine 2 convos as infra

Schools and Homeschoolers: Unequal When Threatened with Court over Student Deficiencies
A judge in Detroit recently ruled in this case that access to literacy or even to a “minimally adequate education” is not a Constitutional right.



by pat from john holt gws: unschooled .. a movie review.. may 2020

The year-long deschooling process..t

what i’ve worked on last 10 yrs (findings).. how to offer another way to live (unschooling/deschooling/common\ing .. whatever ) while hastening the detox

because sync matters huge

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

begs a means to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra